Wanting to Be Strong for All the Wrong Reasons

“Now all glory to God, who is able to make your strong…” (Romans 16:25a NLT)

When I was a kid, I wanted to be strong. Strong to me meant being everything I wasn’t. I didn’t weigh 100 lbs. until I was in Junior High, and my little mom could beat me arm wrestling until I was in the eighth grade. Fighting was a common part of my life growing up. It seems I was constantly trying to prove myself, yet, ironically, I wasn’t even sure what that meant.

In Acts 1:8 the Bible says: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” The word translated “able” in Romans 16 comes from the same root word that is translated “power” in Acts 1. There are several shades of meaning in these words, but when Jesus spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and Paul spoke of God’s power manifesting itself in our lives, they were addressing specific reasons for our need for that power.

We don’t need the Holy Spirit to make us powerful for the sake of having strength, so we can say: “Hey, look at me! Check out how strong I am!” As in everything that God gives us, there’s purpose. Two things demand our attention.

First, Jesus specifically said in Acts 1:8, that the reason we would need God’s power as His followers was to be His “witnesses.” That word can mean a “witness” as in a court of law, but it can also mean “martyr – those who after His example have proved the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing a violent death.” (Strong’s) There are many in the churches of America today who believe because they attend church, serve, give money, and use the right words, they’re okay with God. I sincerely hope they are. But the rubber will meet the road when their life is on the line.

Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

Many wrongly believe that dying for Christ is for people in the Bible, but the reality is, more people are being martyred for their faith today than in any other period in history. And the truth is, it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Why do you think so many people are going to deny Christ in the last days? Yes, of course, Satan will deceive a lot of people through miracles and impressive displays of his power. But many will fall prey to his tactics as a means of saving their lives, not realizing their futile attempts will end the same way – death – eternal separation from God!  

Secondly, in the verse in Romans, the word translated “able” can mean: “to bear calamities and trials with fortitude and patience; to be strong in Christian virtue; to be able to excel in something or have power for something.” What does that mean? It means if you’re not being shaped by your strong faith in Jesus, the world will shape you into its own mold. It means the limitless power of the Holy Spirit has gifted you with abilities to become a beacon of strength and hope and light for those in your spheres of influence who are on the edge of being swept away into a Christ-less eternity.

People today, like in the days of Noah, are buying and selling; being married; partying; scratching and clawing their way up the proverbial ladder of success; doing what they’ve done as a matter of habit for what seems like endless years. But the day is soon coming when the only thing that will matter is – do you know Jesus. Is His life your life.

Too many people today want the strength of Christ to build their own kingdoms, but there’s only one Kingdom that will survive this world, and that is the Kingdom of God. If your efforts throughout your day aren’t investing in the Kingdom of God, you’re going to be sorely disappointed when the Lord comes and all you have to show for your life’s work is the meaningless trinkets of this world.

With all that’s going on in our world today, it’s no time to be on the proverbial fence of faith. Decide today to give everything you are to everything the Lord Jesus is for whatever amount of time you have left.

We must be about our Father’s Business. That’s the only reason God gives us His powerful Holy Spirit.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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